Grandma's Tales

September 26, 2006

Gassing about

Filed under: Uncategorized — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 9:16 pm

Six months ago, my car went hybrid. It’s a Zen and took the second identity stoically. (Zen and the art of gas conversion?)

I had to do something about car fuel going up the express elevator. I talked to the guy at Lovato. With true gift of the gas he convinced me into thinking air in half an hour flat. “40% saving!” he said grandly after squiggling an A4 size full of diagrams. I fell for it. Not for the A4 size, the idea of going hybrid.

Let’s look at the economics. Within city limits, where you use the B and C more than the A, a litre of petrol might be worth 10 kms. If the price on that litre is Rs. 54/-, a km puts you back by 5 rupees 40 paise.

Gas on the other hand gives you only 8 kms per litre. But wait, the cost is approx. 28 rupees (how do I pay the 18 paise if I buy one litre?) which per km is Rs. 3.50. Is that 40%? Check on the calculator. I did.

Depending on the kms you cover per month, you will break even soon. That is, you recover the cost of the Rs. 20,000 you paid for the special cylinder made in Hyderabad and the regulator made in Italy.

Two factors govern this fuel economy for the consumer. In the six months since I loaded the gas cylinder on the car, petrol prices have gone up. And the gas price has gone up by 4 bucks. Is that to maintain the 40% saving at a constant level? The second is the number of kms you cover.

In case you are itching to ask, no, I don’t have a starting problem. I mean, I do, the car doesn’t. There is no hassle in switching from gas to petrol, petrol to gas.

What would make it really viable is easy availability of this cheaper fuel. I managed to find gas at the Royapettah outlet, which is 8 kms away from home. If I made the trip and came back empty-cylindered, I would have spent money on petrol. For nothing.

An auto driver told me he never gets it at the LIC outlet. At Guindy, my success rate is 75%.

If anyone is serious about promoting natural gas, the first thing they should do is open more outlets and make gas available everywhere.

(Natural gas is clean burning and produces significantly fewer harmful emissions than reformulated gasoline or diesel when used in natural gas vehicles. Are you on the green brigade?)


  1. Wow Geeta,
    This is amazing in terms of saving bucks on Petrol. I get the pich here too with recenty sky-fly cost of petrol. Nonetheless, I do not find an alternative (rather who does!) and had to move on.

    Envy u for your recent modification. By the way, Govt of India does give preferences for differently-abled people in opening gas stations. Is there any promotions on this in India presenlty. Please let me know.

    Thanks for the GRAND (ma’s) tale


    Comment by Baski — September 27, 2006 @ 9:55 pm | Reply

  2. Yes, Baski. I was pushed into taking this option. Gas stations could be a good business venture for disabled people. But because of lack of accessibility everywhere, I guess people hesitate to go on their own. I met a guy ( a wheelchair user) on the beach who told me he was joining his dad’s petrol business. I’ll check with him and let you know.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — September 28, 2006 @ 12:37 am | Reply

  3. Usning CNG certainly aids and abets fuel economy in the country. What has me flustered is the increasing use of LPG cylinders in autos and cars. A minute spent on recalling the numeber of road accidents is enough to terrorise one. An LPG cylinder caught in a collission is more than likely to end up as a fireball. Where will our accident toll be then?
    — Bhargavi

    Comment by Bhargavi Ravi — October 9, 2006 @ 9:04 pm | Reply

  4. Hi Bhargavi,
    Some of us will always find a way to beat the system, right? I’ve seen MTC buses carrying severe warnings against the use of cooking gas for driving vehicles. All that the police have to do is stop call-taxis regularly and check their boots. While they are doing it, they could also take a look at the road-worthiness of trucks,buses and autos. Going through their driving licenses won’t hurt either. Do the cops know air-horns have been banned by the Supreme Court? Now almost all the wheelers use them.
    Vigilance is all.

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — October 9, 2006 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

  5. Document your case and submit it to the CA State Attorney General. If it\’s worth pursuing, he\’ll follow up.

    Comment by brad — January 11, 2007 @ 4:53 am | Reply

  6. Hi brad,
    Great idea! Do you think the US has a supply of natural gas? Or will they start a war for this?

    Comment by Geeta Padmanabhan — January 11, 2007 @ 9:28 pm | Reply

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